(UPDATE – 8:00 P.M.) MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Cynthia Villar lost her temper on Monday and warned that she would sue those allegedly behind the garlic cartel that sent prices of the produce surging to as high as P200 per kilogram even when its landed cost was only P17 a kilo.
“Tigilan n’yo ako. Nagsasawa ako sa inyo. Ayaw ibigay ang address? Ayoko nang tumaas ang garlic ng P200. Idedemanda ko kayo. Kina-cartel n’yo ang garlic,” Villar told Bureau of Plan Industry (BPI) officer-in-charge Vivencio Mamaril during the Senate Committee on Agriculture’s inquiry on the issue.
[Don’t mess with me. I’m fed up with you. They don’t want to give their addresses? I don’t want the prices of garlic to shoot up to P200. I will sue you. You’re manipulating the prices of garlic via a cartel.]
Villar, Senate panel chair, made the threat after Mamaril, during the hearing, failed to furnish the committee with the names and addresses of traders, who had imported garlic but whose import permits, according to the BPI chief, were cancelled after they failed to supply the produce on time because of harvest delays in China.
The senator grilled Mamaril during the inquiry and asked him if he was part of the cartel that wanted to create shortage, control prices, and amass profit by killing the local garlic industry.
Villar also asked Mamaril why there was still shortage of supply of garlic when traders had kept on importing the produce from China.
Mamaril replied that there were many traders who had applied for permits but ended up not using the authorizations to import garlic.
The BPI chief’s reply irked Villar, who said that the same thing happened before that prompted former President Benigno Aquino III to fire the director of the BPI.
The senator also asked if Mamaril was doing something to once and for all address the problem. She also asked him why the BPI was not doing anything to prevent the demise of the local garlic industry.
Villar said that if the cost of garlic jumps to P200 a kilo, she herself would file charges against the BPI and its officials.
“Ayoko nang marinig na tumaas sa P200 per kilo. Dapat nasa vicinity lang ‘yan ng P100. Tigilan n’yo ako dyan,” the senator said.
[I don’t want to hear that the price of garlic has increased to P200 a kilo. It should just be within the vicinity of P100. Don’t mess with me on that issue.]
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